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Federal Legislative Update: Week of May 23, 2022

Congressional Outlook

The Senate is in session, the House is out until June 7. With the House out, the Senate will work on several issues including, domestic terrorism, COVID-19 funding, and the potential of a recession.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will file a cloture motion on the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 (H.R. 350), which creates units inside the Department of Justice, FBI, and the Justice Department passed in the House last Thursday 222-203, with Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) as the lone Republican vote. Many Republicans have opposed the legislation, as they believe it will lead to the targeting of parents who have criticized their school boards, which stems from a Department of Justice memo highlighting the threats to school boards. Republican opposition is critical to the Thursday Senate vote as legislation would need at least 10 votes to pass the chamber. Passage of the bill is highly unlikely.

Regarding COVID-19 funding, Senate Republicans continue to demand a vote on Title 42, a pandemic-related immigration restriction impacting asylum seekers on the southern border with Mexico before acting on any additional pandemic-related funds. On Friday, a federal judge blocked the Biden Administration from ending the public health authority. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it was no longer necessary to uphold the order, this however faced significant pushback from both Republicans and Democrats, fearing a migrant surge in response. The Justice Department released a statement of their plans to appeal the decision. The White House continues to maintain the country is in desperate need to restock tests, therapeutics, and vaccines. Majority Leader Schumer hopes the House will act first on the bill, but that would mean any action on COVID-19 funding would not see action until the second week of June.

Other potential action includes emergency funding legislation to address the infant formula shortage triggered by supply chain issues. The House-passed legislation the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 7790), provides $28 million to the Food and Drug Administration to address shortages and prevent future shortages but faces challenges for Senate-passage. On Saturday, President Biden signed into law the Access to Baby Formula Act of 2022 (H.R. 7791), allowing the purchase of more formula with money from a federal program aiding low-income women, infants, and children. In addition, the Senate will vote on the confirmation on Stephanie Davis to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit. The Senate may also vote on 14 nominations including: Henry Frey to be Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Sandra Thompson to be Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency; and Lisa Gomez to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several committee hearings, including a House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis hearing on “Building an Affordable and Resilient Food Supply Chain;” a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “Formula Safety and Supply: Protecting the Health of America’s Babies;” and House Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on “Tackling Teacher Shortages.” The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service and the Finance Committee will discussSupply Chain Resiliency: Alleviating Backlogs and Strengthening Long-Term Security”. Cabinet members and other agency leaders will appear on Capitol Hill to testify on their FY 2023 budget requests.

Last Week

Days after Buffalo mass shooting, the House approves a bill to fight domestic terror READ MORE

Biden Signs Ukraine and Baby Formula Supplemental Acts READ MORE

House passes $28 million in emergency funding to address baby formula shortage READ MORE

Federal judge blocks Biden administration from lifting Title 42 for now READ MORE

Baby formula bill faces rocky terrain in Senate READ MORE